Brazilian striker, deemed surplus to requirements at Al Jazira, signs for season and a half with Zabeel Stadium club.
DUBAI // Al Wasl have finally completed the signing of Ricardo Oliveira, with the Brazilian agreeing to an 18-month contract.
The former Al Jazira captain, who was released by the club in the January transfer window, had for some time been tipped to trade Abu Dhabi for Dubai, yet he was also said to be considering offers from teams in his homeland, most noticeably Sao Paulo.
However, Oliveira decided to extend his stay in UAE football, and joins a Wasl side currently struggling in the Arabian Gulf League. Hector Cuper’s men are 10th in the standings, having lost four of their past five league matches. They entertain Al Shaab, the team ranked two places below, at the Zabeel Stadium tonight.
The capture of Oliveira, 33, should provide a timely boost, as the striker has been one of the country’s most prolific forwards since 2009, when Jazira paid Real Betis, the Spanish top-flight club, a record Dh72.5 million to secure his services.
In his time at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, Oliveira helped the club secure a league and President’s Cup double in 2011, with Jazira retaining the latter the following season. Oliveira scored in both finals.
The 2011/12 campaign was Oliveira’s greatest in terms of goals-to-games, as the frontman scored 41 times in 41 matches, including 12 goals in seven Asian Champions League fixtures. This season, he has found the net 11 times in 17 appearances.
In all, his league record for Jazira reads 54 goals in 78 matches. At Wasl, Oliveira will replace Andre Senghor, the Senegalese striker loaned this summer from Baniyas. He is the club’s second foreign signing this month, after Argentine midfielder Emmanuel Culio was recruited from Spanish club Deportivo La Coruna.
Edson Puch, who spent last season on loan at Chile’s Deportes Iquique, has returned to the first-team as Wasl’s Asian representative after he was granted Palestinian citizenship. Mariano Donda is Wasl’s fourth expatriate.
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